Unless you haven’t been paying attention or are immune to pre-film release hype, then you’ve already heard that Adam Sandler is being called an acting genius in Uncut Gems, the Safdiebrothers tale about a New York City jewelry store owner who is a chronic gambler to the point that it has destroyed his marriage, soiled his reputation, and put him in debt with some very violent people. Co-starring former NBA superstar Kevin Garnett as himself, Uncut Gems is funny, tragic and gripping.
Recently, BET spoke with both Sandler and Garnett about their parts in the film.
BET: One of the things that struck me about Uncut Gems is I’m used to you being a good guy. In Uncut Gems, you’re just not a good guy!
Adam Sandler: I didn’t like this guy from Uncut Gems. I made a lot of mistakes as this guy. I read the script, the Safdie brothers wrote it and directed it. They were so passionate about it. They talked to me about how there’s some good in this guy. He has dreams, he wants to be noticed, he wants something big to happen for him. And I slowly realized, “Yeah, the guy does some awful things along the way, but he just wants one big score.”
BET: Kevin, you’ve always been an animated, cinematic person, even when you weren’t on screen. Please tell me about your experience working onset with Adam.
Keven Garnett: It was a great experience. It was very similar to basketball with how you’re preparing. I wanted to be the best version of me that I can be. I felt like they went through a process. So, to get this opportunity, I really wanted to bring it home. Working with Adam, and the synergy of the Safdie brothers, the level of synergy on the set made me feel like I was acting but having a conversation.
Adam Sandler: From his very first moment on screen, everybody was improvising in the moment, and Kevin was right there with them. He was always in the moment, and it made us better. He always gives me credit, but he kept the ball rolling and we loved it. Not only as a guy but as an actor. Everybody was kinda floored with how good he was.
BET: Adam, I’ve always seen you as a sports-minded guy. It’s obvious you love sports, particularly basketball. If you could be any player, in any time, and any era, who would that player be?
Adam Sandler: If you watched me play, and you see me float, very similar to Julius Erving.
(stunned silence from Kevin Garnett and BET)
Kevin Garnett: So… you patterned your game after Dr. J?
Adam Sandler: If you seen my leaping ability…
Kevin Garnett (interrupting): So, dunking and everything? You’re like Julius Erving?
Adam Sandler: I’ve done the Michael Jordan switch hands in the air move many, many times.
Kevin Garnett: Many, many times?
Adam Sandler: It depends, if I bend far enough down and push, my head’s in the rim, and you know it?
BET: Kevin, you’ve done such a great job in this film that I believe you could actually play someone besides yourself in a film.
Adam Sandler: Yes, he can!
Kevin Garnett: I don’t know. I can’t say that every kind of opportunity is going to have this kind of synergy, but here there was great synergy, and that was a big help performance-wise, but I’m open to it. Yeah!
Uncut Gems opens in theaters nationwide now!